June 9th, 2009 15:05 EST
7 Ways Not To Undermine Your Professional Image During The Summer
Each year at this time, Barbara Pachter a business etiquette expert and author of the NewRules@Work: 79 Etiquette Tips, Tools, and Techniques to Get Ahead and Stay Ahead (Prentice Hall Press) issues her comments on professional summer dress. And every year women`s clothing choices remain a hot " topic.
Pachter states that sexy is not a corporate look " and warns that dressing seductively in the workplace can severely damage a woman`s credibility.
Although warmer weather is often to blame for unsuitable work attire, Pachter also blames inappropriate television role models, fashion designers and a lack of self-awareness as some of the reasons why many women dress seductively.
But she stresses, you can still be feminine "just without flaunting your figure.
The key, Pachter suggests, is to ask yourself what you may be drawing attention to via your clothing. Are you promoting your ideas and your competence or your sexuality? Regardless of your company`s policy or the particular item of clothing that you are wearing, your clothing still needs to project professionalism. "
Here are 7 suggestions to ensure your business wardrobe stays professional, regardless of the weather:
1. No Cleavage "Period. I am amazed that I need to tell women that cleavage is not appropriate for the office. And it`s not!
2. Avoid Short Skirts. Showing too much leg (even really good ones) is never an appropriate way to dress for the office. Avoid high slits and keep your skirts no higher than the top of your knees. When the skirt is significantly above the knee, the knee becomes a visual anchor and draws people`s attention down to your legs. Is that where you want people to look?
3. Make A Smart Decision About Stockings. Michelle Obama usually doesn`t wear them, but should you? Some offices require them, others don`t. Stockings provide a cleaner, more finished look, but they are not always necessary in today`s business casual environment. Stockings won`t help an outfit that shouldn`t be worn to work in the first place. And the issue becomes moot when you wear pants. But the appearance of your legs should be considered. Legs with lots of veins, scars, moles or very pale skin are usually better covered up.
4. Less Really Is More. The less skin you show, the more professional you`ll be, so no exposing your belly, no see-through tops, and no spaghetti strap tops. (And, ugh, no thongs showing from the tops of your pants. We just don`t need to see it!)
5. Stay Away From Skintight Outfits. Your clothing needs to fit, and not overemphasize body parts. Fabrics bulge and buttons pull when the item is too tight.
6. Shoes Count. People notice shoes. It`s one of the little details that add polish to your professional presence. No flip flops or sandals. It`s not the beach; it`s work. One manager said, I do run a casual place, but when a job candidate showed up for the interview in flip flops, I just couldn`t hire her. "
7. Know That Sex Appeal Has It Limits. If your road to success is being based on how sexy you look, you are dooming yourself to failure. Eventually you won`t be able to compete.
Barbara Pachter is the author of numerous books, including The Power of Positive Confrontation ($14.95, paperback, Marlowe & Co.) and When The Little Things Count...And They Always Count ($13.95, paperback, Marlowe & Co.) second edition.
Pachter is a speaker and coach specializing in business etiquette and communication. Her client list features major organizations worldwide, including Microsoft, Pfizer, Cisco, and Genentech.
For a review copy of NewRules@Work: 79 Etiquette Tips, Tools, and Techniques to Get Ahead and Stay Ahead contact Catherine Milne, 212-366-2149, or Catherine.Milne@us.penguingroup.com
For a free copy of Pachter`s communication e-newsletter, Competitive Edge, your readers can call (856) 751-6141 (NJ) or go to www.pachter.com.
CONTACT: Joyce Hoff